Understanding Alzheimer's

Understanding Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder- a continuous decline in thinking, memory  that eventually leads to the disruption of a person’s ability to function independently.  Alzheimer’s worsen over years.

Causes

Alzheimer’s disease is thought to be caused by the abnormal build up of protein in and around brain cells. The several factors that are known to be increase the risk of developing the condition of Alzheimer’s are:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Down’s Syndrome
  • Head Injuries
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Other risk factors –
    •           Hearing loss
    •           Untreated depression
    •           Loneliness or social isolation
    •          A sedentary lifestyle

Who is affected?

Alzheimer’s disease is most likely to be diagnosed in people over the age of 65. The risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia increases with age, affecting and estimated 1 in 14 people over the age of 65 and 1 in ever 6 people over the age of 80.

But around 1 in ever 20 cases of Alzheimer’s disease affects people aged 40 to 65. This is called early or young onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Diagnosis

Doctors use several methods and tools to help determine whether a person who is having memory problems has “possible Alzheimer’s”, “probable Alzheimer’s” or some other problem.

To diagnose Alzheimer’s doctors generally ask the patient about:

  • Ask friends and family of the patient about overall health, use of prescription and over the counter medicines, diet, past medical problems, ability to carry out daily activities and changes in behavior and personality
  • Conducts a memory, problem solving, attention, and counting and language test.
  • Standard medical tests like blood and urine.
  • Perform brain scans such as CT, MRI or PET to rule out other possible causes for the symptoms.

Treatment  

Alzheimer’s diseases are complex and it is unlikely that any one drug or other intervention will successfully treat it. Current approaches focus on helping people maintain mental function, manage behavioral symptoms and slow down the symptoms of disease. Several prescription drugs are approved to treated people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Treating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s can provide people with comfort, dignity and independence for a longer period of time can also encourage and assist their caregivers as well.